A transparent conductive graphene film is investigated as front contact in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), as an alternative to traditional transparent conducting oxides (TCO). The film is composed of poly-crystalline few-layers graphene, covering homogeneously an area of 1 cm(2), deposited by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) technique on larger area Cu catalyst substrate and transferred on glass. DSSC photoanode is then fabricated, according to consolidated procedure, by sequential casting of TiO2 films through tape casting technique, followed by annealing at 500 degrees C, and sensitization with N719 dye. An outstanding value of photoconversion efficiency as high as 2% is recorded for the best cell, under one sun irradiation (AM 1.5 G, 100 mW cm(-2)), which is the highest ever reported for this kind of devices using graphene as front conducting film. Compared to previous results in the literature, the application of a large area continuous graphene film, guaranteed by the CVD deposition, definitely outperforms graphene layers composed by smaller graphene platelets (at micrometer scale). Morphological and electrical characterizations of graphene are reported and the functional performances of the best cell are compared with those obtained from classical DSSC exploiting fluorine-doped tin oxide. Obtained results encourage further investigation of graphene homogeneous thin film as viable alternative to standard TCOs for application in advanced devices, requiring high temperature processing or flexible substrates, incompatible with standard TCO films. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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